I would like to introduce you to the Special Education Parent Teacher Student Association.  SEPTSA’s mission is to educate, advocate and support parents, teachers, and other professionals and involved community members so that children identified as needing special education services (on either end of the spectrum, resource or gifted) can develop to their fullest potential within their families, schools and communities.


         Our goals are to:

    *   Promote positive partnership between schools, families, and the community;

    *   Bring together parents and teachers of ALL children to share their experiences;

    *   Provide information on ongoing programs and resources in the community;

    *   Educate parents to issues and changes in school policy that will affect them and to

         help parents become aware of both their rights and responsibilities with respect to

         Special education law.


          Each month we meet we have a Professional guest Speaker presenting various relevant topics. We realize that it is difficult to get out on a school night with other activities and especially if you have a child with special needs.  I have found, from personal experience that the information presented by the professional guest speakers is very valuable but equally important is the support and friendship that is found in the group. This expanded to the community as I learned about even more resources and opportunities for my child.  Ken-Ton is one of only three school districts in the whole western New York area to have a SEPTSA  resource.


           This year’s theme is “IMPROVING YOUR CHILD’S EDUCATIONAL

    OPPORTUNITIES THROUGH EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION” We are not talking about basic communication skills; we know any parent who has answered the “why not “questions from a small child or a teenager has developed advanced communication skills.  When navigating the educational system you need more than basic skills.  Then add to that the medical, legal, psychological, and public agencies it can be overwhelming.   We now live in a world of acronyms, or as most groups refer to it as alphabet soup.  IEP, CSE, ADHD, AP and of course BFF.  It is essential for parents to keep informed and educated on terminology and alternatives.   Each topic this year is focused on the best way to reach a specific audience.  What information do you need to be armed with to convey your point?  When you go to hearings, medical appointments, teacher conferences, and professional evaluations, what documents should you prepare?  What do you do when it seems that the lines of communication are not working or failed?


             We will also address how to help our children cope with the inundation of communication from school, TV, computers, and cell phones.  Technology makes more information available to our children, but it does not always enhance their skills.  Instead many feel additional pressures leading to depression and anxiety.  Our speakers will discuss how we can teach them to advocate and express what they are feeling to their peers, teachers, and us. 


                For the past three years Septsa has sponsored an agency fair and we hope to be able to continue that tradition.  The fair brings together in one location all the various service agencies available in Western New York 


               Our next meeting is November 18, 2010 at 6:30pm   This month our guest speakers from The Parent Network and Buffalo State College will discuss communication skills from a parent’s perspective.  We will not meet in December and will resume meetings the third Thursday of each month at 6:30pm starting in January 2011.  Please see our Web Site Kentonseptsa.com for more information and updates or call 310-4580 if you should have any questions. 


                                                            Janet Vaughan



Last Modified on November 9, 2010